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Snocross Racer Builds Bionic Knee

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 by Pulse

snocross racer

A rising star and a serious injury

Mike Schultz calls himself Monster Mike, and was one of the rising stars in snocross, a wintery variation on motocross racing that uses a snowmobile on snow and ice.  After earning the World Power Sport’s Association Most Improve Pro for the 2006-2007 year, he won first place in a major race in Iceland, and competed in 6 Winter X-Games between 2002 and 2008.

Mike’s story might have simply stopped there, with him continuing to excel in the snocross field, and fulfill his dream of being on the biggest racers in the world. However, in December 2008, while taking part in a race in Michigan, he was thrown off his sled, and suffered a very severe compound fracture of his left knee, requiring amputation of his leg, an injury most people would have considered tragic and career ending.

Finding a way to get back on the snowmobile

However, Mike’s love of his active lifestyle was too strong to let his injury force him to get rid of his dirt bikes and snowmobiles.  He explored existing lines of prosthetic limbs, and found that, while they might have been ok for people who just want to be able to walk and perform simple tasks, they wouldn’t survive the rigors of doing what he loved.  Using engineering knowledge gained from repairing trains in Minnesota, insurance money from his injury, and some help from his sponsor FOX racing, Mike developed the Moto Knee.

The Moto Knee is a simple to manufacture prosthetic knee with the range of motion and tension that makes it possible to engage in intense physical activity. The Moto Knee has a series of compressed air springs, working like a shock absorber to be very adaptive to different levels of resistance.  While traditional prosthetics can’t bend past 90 degress, the Moto Knee can bent 135 degrees, allowing for a much fuller range of motion.

This extended range is necessary when allowing him to pop back up after having to squat to support his weight on a high jump.  With a prototype Moto Knee, it only took 7 months for Mike to get back into racing, winning the silver medal in adaptive motocross at the 2009 X Games, and the gold as at Snowcross at the winter games.  A lot of people who had suffered an injury like Mike’s may have been told they would never be able to engage their passion for extreme sports ever again, but Mike’s ingenuity offered a hopeful way to be able to move freely again, and reimagine what is possible for disabled athletes.

Expanding the Moto Knee to others

It didn’t take too long for other people to become very interested in the exciting possibilities of the Moto Knee, and so in 2010, Mike Schultz launched Biodapt, a company that manufactures Moto Knees to anyone wishing to have a bionic knee that can come closer to withstanding the rigors of an active life.  One very exciting feature of the Moto Knee is its customizable features. It’s different parts can be adjusted to meet the unique needs and passions, allowing snowboarders, horseback riders, water-skiers, and people wanting to engage in many other types of physical activity to adjust.

Aside from extreme sports enthusiasts, another group that has found Mike’s Moto Knee very helpful have been veterans. Wayne Waldon, who lost his right leg in to a bomb blast in Iraq, was even inspired to get into snowboarding because the Moto Knee made it possible.  Mike Shultz, in addition to continuing to be a great racer, is now also an award winning inventor, and has sold over 100 prosthetics uniquely tailored to a active lifestyle.  That represents more then 100 people who have received an expanded sense of hope in what is possible for them.

photo credit: jaydrogers via photopin cc

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